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Preparing for Presentations and Vivas


Title: Preparing for presentations and vivas Author: SoM Last modified by: Mr. C Manickavel Created Date: 7/2/2008 4:47:44 PM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Preparing for Presentations and Vivas

Preparing for Presentations and Vivas
  • After this session you will be able to
  • Plan and structure a presentation.
  • Deliver a presentation to meet the needs of your
  • Use visual aids effectively.
  • Deliver a professional presentation.
  • Prepare for and pass a viva.

Preparing the presentation
  • Know your audience.
  • Know your academic programme (especially its
  • Reconnoitre facilities.

Structure beginning
  • Greet audience.
  • Introduce self.
  • State title of presentation.
  • When they can ask questions.

Structure middle
  • The inductive approach
  • Fact Fact Fact Fact therefore Conclusion.
  • The deductive approach
  • Conclusion because Fact Fact Fact Fact.
  • The discursive approach
  • Argument For. Argument Against. Summary.

Structure end
  • Flag the end So, in conclusion or
  • Emphasize small number of key points.
  • Keep up energy and enthusiasm.

Present complex processes by
Process A
Process B
Process D
Process C
Using Custom Animation in PowerPoint
Create interest by
  • Using personal stories.
  • Using cases.
  • Using metaphors (e.g., research revealed that
    management orchestrated the changes with great
    skill). Metaphors also allow for the use of
    visual images.

Using visual aids some deadly sins (design)
The sin The consequence
Using fonts that are too small. Inability of audience to read the information.
Using endless bullet point slides. Complete audience boredom.
Making slides busy and packed with text. Inability of audience to process the information.
Using too many colours or inappropriate colours. Audience confusion.
Using too many animation effects. Audience distraction or irritation.
Using visual aids some deadly sins (delivery)
The sin The consequence
Facing the screen when talking, not the audience. Lack of connection with the audience less interest in the presentation.
Reading from notes. See above.
Technical problems such as the equipment not working. Embarrassed speaker and embarrassed audience.
Flat, monotone delivery. Audience falls asleep or switches off.
Delivery tips
  • Gain attention.
  • Use your body language.
  • Project your voice.
  • Handle questions politely.

Making presentations interesting
  • Use visual aids effectively.
  • Maintain eye contact.
  • Focus on the audience.
  • Be yourself.
  • By being relaxed, voice intonation/pace/ projectio
    n will be enhanced.

From negative to positive thoughts
Negative thoughts Positive thoughts
I will dry up. I have practiced this. I am fluent.
I dont know enough. I am the expert in the room.
Everyone will be looking at me. I will command their attention.
I wont know the answers to their questions. I know most of the answers I can always open issues up for discussion.
Avoiding stress.
  • Practice, practice, practice (know the content
    and where to use visual aids).
  • Breathingdeeply and slow it down.
  • Remember the audience IS on your side.
  • Be aware of audience and talk directly to them.

Team presentations
Get to know each other
Appoint a team leader
Decide on and allocate roles
Prepare a timetable
Share out the content
Plan the presentation
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
Preparing for a viva
  • Vivas perform at least two important functions
  • They test the candidates knowledge of their
    thesis to ensure that it is their own work.
  • They provide the candidate with the opportunity
    to defend their ideas and, if necessary, add
    further detail and explanation.

Step 1 Select the examiner
Choose examiners who are Avoid examiners who are
Highly respected in their field. Unknown in their field.
Working in a research area related to your own. Working in a research area unrelated or only tangentially related to your own.
Broadly sympathetic to your central arguments. Likely to be antipathetic or even hostile to your central arguments.
Publishing research using broadly similar methodologies to your own. Publishing research using methodologies that contrast sharply with your own.
Step 2 Become master of your own work
  • Common limitations include
  • Key omissions in the literature chapters
    including omitting significant theories or
  • A failure to present a set of coherent and well
    formulated research questions.
  • The lack of a coherent research design that is
    appropriate to the questions being asked.
  • Problems in sample selection, including a
    reliance on convenience or volunteer samples, and
    a failure to acknowledge the limitations of
  • Failure to acknowledge alternative
    interpretations of the data.
  • Making exaggerated claims on the basis of limited

Step 3 Publish and reference your own article(s)
  • Good practice for academic writing.
  • Shows that you are capable of writing at the
    appropriate level.

During the viva typical questions
What were your reasons for choosing this research topic? How did you set about dealing with ethical issues?
What do you think is your original contribution to knowledge? What do you think are the main weaknesses of your work?
What alternative research methodologies did you consider? What are the major recent developments in your subject area?
How do your findings relate to the literature in your subject area? What would you do differently if you were to conduct this study again?
What surprises emerged during your research? How does your methodology fit with your research questions?
Have your opinions changed during the course of this research? What do you see as the next steps in this research?
Killer features the examiner looks for
  • Has the candidate picked up the key debates in
    the subject area? Are there any vital sources or
    debates that have been missed?
  • Has the candidate identified the main gaps in the
    current literature on the research subject? Have
    these been clearly articulated?
  • From these gaps, have a set of research questions
    been posed? Are they clearly formulated?
  • Does the thesis contain helpful signposting to
    the reader? Is it easy to find ones way about
    the thesis? Is it always clear what the
    candidate is trying to achieve in each chapter
    and section?
  • In presenting findings and discussion, does the
    candidate return to the original questions to
    answer them?

After the presentation
  • Be constructive about your performance and that
    of other students.
  • Reflect on what worked well and why.
  • Reflect on what could have been improved and why.
  • Celebrate the achievement of delivering to a
    large group.

Summary presentations
  • If preparing a presentation that will be
    assessed, keep checking on the assessment
    criteria and follow them.
  • Structure your presentation so that it has a
    clear beginning, middle and end, and keep to a
    limited number of key messages.
  • Avoid death by bullet point. Try to maximize
    the use of pictures, graphics and other visual
    images including the use of visual metaphors.
  • In delivering the presentation consider yourself
    as your best visual aid. Stand confidently and
    face your audience, making eye contact. Speak
    clearly with variety in your tone and
  • For team presentations, elect a leader and
    allocate roles based upon experience and

Summary vivas
  • In passing a viva, it helps if the external
    examiner understands and is not hostile to the
    research tradition which informs your research
  • If possible, get at least one of your own
    articles published in the peer reviewed
  • Practice by undertaking a mock viva with your
  • Know your work thoroughly including its main
  • Prepare to engage in a critical dialogue with the
    examiner. Remember, you know your research
    better than anyone in the room!